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6 Best of Oscar Wilde’s Works: Legacy He Left Behind


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What are some of the best of Oscar Wilde’s works?

Are you an Oscar Wilde fan looking for some of his greatest works and gain critical insights into the Victorian world? Then, my friend you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find them all, the best of Oscar Wilde’s works waiting out there to come alive.

Wilde was not a much-celebrated artist in his own time due to the various scandals revolving around him as being a homosexual in Nineteenth-Century was a crime of highest order. However, since the late 20th Century, Wilde and his works have rapidly evolved in the world of literature and academia finding a place of its own.

The critical acclaim that he has received in the last few decades is phenomenal giving him a position as one of the most remarkable writers and playwright of his time with high artistic and intellectual capabilities.

Wilde and his works stand out because of the Modern facets found in his work as well as due to his controversial writings and identity as a gay was in itself a challenge of its own. Wilde, outwardly by rejecting and deviating from the traditions of Drama and in general the so-called Victorian values. His artistic and intellectual competencies matured with time giving us the best of Oscar Wilde’s works.

He wrote many plays, short stories, and novellas during the course of his life.  But few of them achieved greater success than the others which were considered to be his best.

I hope you enjoy the Best of Oscar Wilde’s works represented to you here!

Happy Reading!

1. A Picture of Dorian Gray

Being the only novel that Wilde ever wrote and published, A Picture of Dorian Gray has to be included in the best of Oscar Wilde’s work for its harsh attack and critique of Victorian beauty conceptions. It was first published in July 1890 in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. As the narrative didn’t align with the shallow Victorian morality the novel was considered indecent and immoral. Even after its contents being censored many believed it to be completely against the morality code to those times.

The protagonist of the play, Dorian Gray, and his oil portrait by a famous artist named, Basil Hallward who is captivated and bewitched by his beauty believing that Dorian’s beauty had inspired a unique sensation and insight in art and as a painter. Dorian soon gets sucked into the aristocratic world of where he learns that pursuing pleasure and beauty is the only goal of life.

Afraid that his beauty will fade away while the beauty of his portrait will go to live on for eternity, he makes a deal with the devil. He wishes that his portrait will age and die instead of him. He goes on exploring the newly found liberal values of the sensual world while remaining young and beautiful.

The text reminded me of the play, Dr. Faustus by Marlowe and how he sells his soul to the devil for worldly pleasure has to be included in best of Oscar Wilde’s works.


Famous quotes of Best of Oscar Wilde’s works Dorian Gray:

“Beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration and destroys the harmony of any face”

2. The Importance of Being Ernest

This particular play is believed to be Wilde’s huge dramatic success entering the phase of stardom as a playwright by being compared to Ibsen, Zola, and others. The play was directed by G. Alexander and performed for the first time at the St. James Theatre in February 1895. A three-act farcical play criticizing the prevalent culture and norms of those days by using comic effects.

He deploys reverse psychology in the play, where he treats trivial things seriously and vice-versa to ridicule the artificiality of social values and manners of those times along with political ones. The title in itself is ironic at so many levels and the dramatic maturity that Wilde reaches in this play has led critics to label it as his finest work of art the reason it is included here in the list of Best of Oscar Wilde’s works.

Famous Quotes Best of Oscar Wilde’s works :

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

“I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.”

3. A Woman of No Importance

Another one of Wilde’s greatest works which is why you find it under the best of Oscar Wilde works reading list. The play’s first performance was at Haymarket Theatre, London in April 1893. Identical to most of Wilde’s work, it is a direct satire of upper-class English society and its frivolous values.

Being a 21st Century feminist woman, the play one of my favorites of Wilde providing us insights into the world of women during those times and the patriarchal attitudes, roles, and expectations imposed on women.

The play spirals around a woman in her middle age, Mrs. Arbuthnot who raises a son on her own. Now, a grown boy, Gerald who gets a tempting job offer from the man who fathered him i.e. his biological father. Mrs. Arbuthnot taking all the risks raises him alone and his future. While the society assumes that she’s a widow. Well, of course, because the Victorians firmly believed that having children out of wedlock was impossible. Not biologically, but Victorian-ly if that makes sense.

The play orbits around Gerald make a decision whether to get to know his father whom he has never known by betraying his mother who spent her whole life taking care of him.


Famous Quotes Best of Oscar Wilde’s works :

“Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.”

“Nothing spoils romance so much as a sense of humor in the woman”

4. The Nightingale and the Rose

Mostly underrated but this short story by Wilde never fails to leave its readers speechless and heartbroken simultaneously. “The Nightingale and the Rose” was initially published in a short-story collection “The Happy Prince and the Other Tales” in 1888 including various other stories such as “The Remarkable Rocket”, “The Devoted Friend” and various others.

The Nightingale and the Rose is a tragic narrative whilst Wilde explores the themes of love, self-sacrifice, kindness, humanity, materialism, and generosity. Wilde weaves in a beautiful, beautiful plotline of a Nightingale overhearing a young boy confessing his love and his fears regarding losing the only love of his life because she demanded to be given a red rose or he’ll lose her.

Following the trajectory, of how the Nightingale selflessly sacrifices herself just to bring a rose for the young boy ad to save the love of his life. However, the Nightingale dies in for nothing as she anyways leaves him. The focus is on materialism that was gaining prominence more than anything in the industrialized Victorian era.

Famous Quotes Best of Oscar Wilde’s works :

“Be happy, cried the Nightingale, be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own hearts blood”


6. De Profundis

Another of Wilde’s classic, De Profundis is just a long letter Wilde wrote during his time in prison. I must say, it is a must-read for anyone and everybody to learn how struggling experiences can transform a person into. As you might already know that Wilde was imprisoned for two-years convicted for Homosexual activities for being who he was which were treated as a sin in those times.

De Profundis literally translates into ‘from the depths’ coming to his thoughts and ideas about his relation to Lord Douglas to whom he dedicates the letter and the luxurious lifestyle he formerly lived in stark contrast with his real-life experiences and tales of the prison world allowing it to make this list of best of Oscar Wilde’s works.

Famous Quotes Best of Oscar Wilde’s works :

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”

“Hearts are made to be broken.”


6. Lady Windermere’s Fan

The play, Lady Windermere’s Fan first opened in 1892, reaching heights of dramatic effects like all the Wilde’s play in this list of best of Oscar Wilde’s works. Similar to most of his plays, this one too blatantly satirizes the pretentious morality of Victorian England with the deployment of humor and comic atmosphere throughout the play.

The story orbits around an extramarital affair between Lady Windemere’s husband and a woman names Mrs. Elayne investigating the themes of love, familial relations, and others Wilde very succinctly conjoins serious and comic go hand in hand which is another admirable quality of his plays. The themes and problems that he raises during those times continue to be circulating even today indicating their ubiquitous nature.

Famous Quotes Best of Oscar Wilde’s works:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”


In recent times, many scholars have argued that revolutionary tone found in works which engage with politics, economic, and social issues of those time along with great aesthetic caliber. Wilde even after all the scandals and questions about him never stopped him from writing and making people aware of the deep-seated prejudice glorified in their society. If possible, the questioning and doubts filled him with even more enthusiasm to write about social issues educating the masses.

I hope you guys found some interesting reading challenge from the above article of Best of Oscar Wilde’s work to keep your quarantine time productive and knowledgeable. If you’ve your own personal exclusive list of Best of Oscar Wilde’s works then please let us know by commenting below.

I also wouldn’t mind constructive criticism of our list of Best of Oscar Wilde’s works.

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